Looking for some balance in your life? Try slacklining.
Slacklining, the art of walking along nylon webbing, is a new school variation of circus style tight-rope walking. Born along chain link fences in Yosemite Valley, the sport of slacklining has become a recreational phenomenon enjoyed worldwide, from the beaches to the highest alpine spires.
It can improve your balance, posture, concentration and even strengthen mental fortitude. The older we get the harder it is to maintain these necessary faculties and walking the fine line on these ropes will definitely help maintain these skills. Also, because it demands a combination of balance, concentration and coordination, it’s a great exercise for sports that involve exceptional body control, such as climbing, skiing and martial arts.
Balancing on a rope requires the complete use of your body, engaging all your muscles and focus to prevent you from falling off the slack line. The most proper and efficient technique requires you to keep your lower body static and move from the hips up. All muscles working to keep you balanced and you learn about proper weight distribution while working all parts of your body.
Balance is vital in all aspects of life. Having good balance will follow you until your later ages. Since a slack line is a flexible, elastic rope, it takes an extreme amount of balance and coordination to keep yourself up. In fact, the International Journal of Sports Medicine found that slack lining increased the rate of muscular contraction, meaning individuals in the slack lining study were able to perform physical activity faster.
The active balancing strengthens your core over time. Though it may not seem like it when spectators are standing afar, rope-walkers utilize their core nonstop while on the line. Contracting the core ensures focus and proper balance because the body is required to limit excess movements.
Improved posture is one of the top benefits of slack lining. Though the primary muscle group being utilized are the core muscles, you also use your back muscles and strengthen your spine. This helps prevent poor posture and can delay the onset of back pains. In fact, a Scandinavian study published in 2011 found that after 10 sessions of slack line training, subjects improved posture, balance, and reflex control.
Whether you’re an aspiring surfer, climber, or skier, learning to walk on a slackline will undoubtedly improve your performance. Part sport, part meditation, slacklining requires focus and commitment. Better balance is just a couple of wobbly steps away!
Photo: @rjshade via flickr